The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its immigration enforcement efforts on the removal of two types of individuals: 1. Those who pose a threat to national security, and 2. Those who are a risk to public safety, such as violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders. DHS does not want to expend resources on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children, have not committed serious crimes, and who meet certain guidelines. This is where the process of Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals comes in.
While this deferral does not confer lawful status upon an individual, nor excuse an individual from previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence in the United States, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals gives an undocumented individual some allowances. That is, under existing regulations an individual who has obtained this deferral, which lasts for two years, is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided the person in question can demonstrate "an economic necessity for employment." Additionally, it also allows the individual to attend school.
Basically, the program works like this: Those who receive the deferment have the federal government's promise that for the next two years they will not be placed in removal proceedings or removed from the United States. The possibility of deportation will have been postponed. During those two years, they may work and attend school without fear of deportation.
It is also possible to request an extension of this two-year deferment period after turning 31 years of age, as long as the individual was not above age 30 on June 15, 2012. The request for an extension, however, is considered on a case-by-case basis, and, if given, does not guarantee an extension of employment authorization, which must be requested separately.
Finally, a few important facts must be kept in mind: this program does not provide amnesty, nor is it a path that leads to permanent residency status or citizenship; DHS may terminate or renew the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals at any time, and at the agency's discretion; and it is not possible to reopen, reconsider, or appeal the decision if one's request for Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals application is denied.
To review the eligibility guidelines for the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and to review frequently asked questions about the program, please visit www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.
This is the first part of our series on Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Please return to the blog Friday for the next installment.